Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-19

5/19/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Monday, May 19, 2008

Top of the 1st
I HATE TO SAY THIS… I HATE TO SAY THIS…
I hate to say this but baseball needs to allow umpires access to video replays. I do mean to create a controversy with this, but we have come to point were replay is needed for calls of fact, not judgment.

The tipping point for me came during last night’s Yankees/Mets game in which television replays clearly indicated that Carlos Delgado had homered off the bottom of the left field foul pole in Yankee Stadium. The umps had initially made the correct call but, after a conference, the home plate umpire reversed the home run call and the umps called the ball foul.

Please understand, this call for replay is in no way a criticism of the umpires. They do a terrific job making split-second decisions. Occasionally they make a mistake, but every now and then a player makes an error. It is all part of the wonderful spontaneity of the game. The fact that umpires now confer after a call, that one of them is not sure of, only shows how dedicated they are, and comfortable they are, in making sure they get the call correct.

Umpires face enormous pressure. Many hometown fans don’t look for the ump to make the correct call, they look for the ump to make a call in their favor. The great American League umpire Nestor Chylak, speaking about the fans, said, “They expect an umpire to be perfect on Opening Day and to improve as the season goes on.”

In my mind, there are a few reasons not to support replay. First is the time factor – baseball games are long enough. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have watched an NFL game and, as the refs review a play, I have simply switched the channel. Next, is the “give an inch” factor – I believe that replay has a value on calls of fact: is it a home run or not? Is the ball fair or foul? Did the fan interfere with the ball in play or not? Once however we give an inch the rule could be expanded by some to whether the ball was caught or not, or of instances of safe an out and that would be detrimental to the game and to umpires. That brings me to my final argument against replay: the umpire must be the final arbiter and the umpiring crew must control the game. We simply cannot and should not do anything that weakens the umps role of authority on the field.

The use of replay must be unobtrusive and selectively used. If we do institute replay, it must be the umps call to use it, not the flag dropping of a manager. The bottom line is that it must be used by umpires to help them make the correct call. Last night, replays showed that the call was not correct.

Fortunately, the incorrect decision last night did not affect the outcome of the game. But one day it will. One day it might decide a pennant race. One day it might decide a world championship. And one day, MLB will decide to use replay for these calls and when the decision is made it might be one day too late.

Top of the 2nd
INTERLEAGUERIES
* AL pitchers went 10-for 47.
* NL pitchers went 2-for-37.
* The Royals’ Zack Greinke, went 2-for-3 at Florida, and Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnanstine, who also went 2-for-3, in St. Louis.
* AL designated hitters went 17-for-62.
* NL designated hitters went 12-for-63.
* The Mets gave the NL the Sunday victory after sweeping the rain-abbreviated two game set in NYC over the Stinkees. The NL won the day 8-6 and only lost the weekend 19-22. The AL is now 103 games over .500 since 2004.
* Rain is another reason to dislike interleague play. It played a factor in NY, Philly and Boston.
* The AL Central-leading Indians visited the bottom of the NL Central, Cincinnati, and were swept by the Reds.
* The Red Sox swept the Milwaukee Brewers and improved to an interleague 18-3 at Fenway Park since 2006 and an overall interleague record of 31-8 over since 2006.
* The Royals took two of three from NL East leading Fish.
* The struggling Blue Jays took two of three from the Phillies.
* And in the “war of the worst” in which the teams with the worst records in each league, the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres, faced each other, let’s give it up for the Mariners who until beating the Padres the last two games had not won consecutive games in a month, and had not won a three-game series since April 8-10. BTW: They should check the water in Peoria, Arizona. That’s the spring training home of both the Padres and Mariners.

Top of the 3rd
FANTASY NOTES
For those of you who have Jake Peavy on your team, hold your breath. Jake Peavy first experienced soreness in his right elbow three weeks ago and has been skipping his bullpen sessions between starts hoping the pain would go away. It hasn’t.

He won’t be making today’s scheduled start against St. Louis but will have an MRI today with results known before tonight’s game.

If I had a fantasy team that used AL pitchers, I would be putting Roy Halliday in that slot. Because of the rain in Philly yesterday, Halladay made a rare relief Appearance. The last time he worked from the `pen was July 2, 2001, when he went 2 1/3 innings against Boston giving up six runs. Yesterday, he also went 2 1/3, giving up one hit and no runs, striking out two.

Top of the 4th
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRANDON INGE
Happy birthday to the Tiger’s Brandon Inge who so far this season has been errorless while playing 18 games at third, 10 in centerfield, nine behind the plate, and one in leftfield.

Top of the 5th
IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED
* In the AL East, many pundits picked the Yankees for first, they are in last place.
* In the AL Central, many pundits picked the Tigers for first, they are in last place.
* In the AL West, many pundits picked the Mariners for first, they are in last place.
* In the NL Central, many pundits picked the Brewers for first, they are in last place.
* In the NL West, many pundits picked the Padres for first, they are in last place.
* Oh, and in the NL East, many pundits picked the Marlins for last, they are in first place.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
Take a look at the Delgado homer that wasn’t a homer: http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=&categoryId=2521705

Home plate umpire Bob Davidson who called the ball foul readily admitted his mistake to reporters after the game:
“I (expletive) it up. I’m the one who thought it was a (expletive) foul ball. I saw it on the replay. I’m the one who (expletive) it up so you can put that in your paper,” Davidson said. “Bolts and nuts, I (expletive) up. You’ve just got to move on. No one feels worse about it than I do.”

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Royals (Luke Hochevar) at Red Sox (Jon Lester), 7:05
Rangers (Scott Feldman) at Twins (Boof Bonser), 8:10
Rays (Jamie Shields) at A’s (Joe Blanton), 10:05

NL
Cubs (Ted Lilly) at Astros (Brian Moehler), 7:05
Phillies (Brett Myers) at Nationals (Tim Redding), 7:10
Giants (Patrick Misch) at Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa), 8:35
Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer) at Padres (Wil Ledezma), 10:05
Reds (Bronson Arroyo) at Dodgers (Brad Penny), 10:10

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Trinity College set a Division III record with its 41st consecutive victory, beating Southern Maine, 10-3, in a regional title game in Harwich, Massachusetts. Trinity advanced to the national championship tournament next weekend.

The holy trinity, of course, is pitching, hitting and fielding.

Top of the 9th
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU
With help from Scott Brandon, longtime reader Bruce Brown delivered this team to the Connie Mack Chapter of SABR yesterday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

These 44 players all played for both the Philadelphia Athletics (A’s) and Phillies. Duggleby barely makes the team, jumping briefly cross-town during the 1902 season. Baumgartner, Kelly, LeBourveau, McPherson, Richardson, and Sperry played exclusively for the two Philadelphia teams.

1b – JIMMIE FOXX* (1925-35 A’s / 1945 Phillies)
2b – Nap Lajoie* (1896-1900 Phillies / 1901-02, 15-16 A’s)
3b – Lave Cross (1892-97 Phillies / 1901-05 A’s)
SS – Monte Cross (1898-1901 Phillies / 1902-07 A’s)
C – HAL WAGNER (1937-44 A’s / 1948-49 Phillies)
LF – Rube Bressler (1914-16 A’s / 1932 Phillies)
CF – Elmer Flick* (1898-1901 Phillies / 1902 A’s)
RF – BILL NICHOLSON (1936 A’s / 1949-53 Phillies)

PH – (r) VIC POWER (1954 A’s / 1964 Phillies)
PH – (l) NICK ETTEN (1938-39 A’s / 1941-42, 47 Phillies)
PH – (b) Dave Philley (1951-53 A’s / 1958-60 Phillies)
PR – Phil Geier (1896-97 Phillies / 1901 A’s)

Pitching
RH – Chief Bender* (1903-14 A’s / 1916-17 Phillies)
LH – Tom Zachary (1918 A’s / 1936 Phillies)
RH – Chick Fraser (1899-1900, 02-04 Phillies / 1901 A’s)
LH – Wiley Piatt (1898-1900 Phillies / 1901 A’s)
RH – Bill Duggleby (1898, 1901-07 Phillies / 1902 A’s)
RP – Joe Bowman (1932 A’s / 1935-36 Phillies)
RP – Dana Fillingim (1915 A’s / 1925 Phillies)
RP – Ed Heusser (1938, 48 Phillies / 1940 A’s)
Closer – BOBBY SHANTZ (1949-54 A’s / 1964 Phillies)

Mgr – Stuffy McInnis (1909-17 A’s / 1927 Phillies)

In reserve
Dick Barrett (1933 A’s / 1943-45 Phillies)
Stan Baumgartner (1914-16, 21-22 Phillies / 1924-26 A’s)
Bill Bernhard (1899-1900 Phillies / 1901-02 A’s)
Frank Bruggy (1921 Phillies / 1922-24 A’s)
Joe Dolan (1899-1901 Phillies / 1901 A’s)
LOU FINNEY (1931-39 A’s / 1947 Phillies)
Dave Fultz (1898-99 Phillies / 1901-02 A’s)
Johnny Gray (1954 A’s / 1958 Phillies)
Bill Kelly (1920 A’s / 1928 Phillies)
Billy Lauder (1898-99 Phillies / 1901 A’s)
Bevo LeBourveau (1919-22 Phillies / 1929 A’s)
Walt Masters (1937 Phillies / 1939 A’s)
John McPherson (1901 A’s / 1904 Phillies)
Fred Mitchell (1902 A’s / 1903-04 Phillies)
Morgan Murphy (1898, 1900 Phillies / 1901 A’s)
Bill Nagel (1939 A’s / 1941 Phillies)
Skeeter Newsome (1935-39 A’s / 1946-47 Phillies)
Ken Richardson (1942 A’s / 1946 Phillies)
Dave Shean (1906 A’s / 1908-09 Phillies)
Stan Sperry (1936 Phillies / 1938 A’s)
Tuck Stainback (1938 Phillies / 1946 A’s)
Elmer Valo (1940-43, 46-54 A’s / 1961 Phillies)

*Hall of Fame
ALL CAPS = Al-Star
Bold = Inspiration

Bottom of the 9th
THERE’S ONLY 27 DAYS UNTIL FATHER’S DAY
Show Dad where his memories rank among the greatest baseball moments of all time

Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs: Baseball’s Grand (and not-so-grand) Finales
By Bill Chuck and Jim Kaplan, Foreword by Jon Miller

This Father’s Day, relive some of the most memorable finales in baseball history with dear ‘ol Dad by flipping through the pages of Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs. This book is the definitive collection of baseball’s grand–and not-so-grand–final acts, including:

The greatest postseason finishes of all-time
The last moments of the most distinguished old stadiums
Heroic (and not-so-heroic) endings to Hall of Fame careers
Boxscores and linescores for some of the greatest games ever played
A slew of career statistics, ballpark data, and photographs
$14.95, 213 pages, paperback.

Plus, buy just one copy and receive The Bill James Daily Match-ups for your favorite team delivered FREE to your email inbox every day between now and the All-Star break–a $30 value!

To take advantage of this optional special offer, mention the “Father’s Day Special” when calling (800) 397-2282 or enter the name of your favorite team under “Additional Comments” when checking out online. One team per book.
http://www.actasports.com/detail.html?&id=3427

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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports, espn.com, sportsline.com, mlb.com and numerous other e-sources. Opinions expressed in Billy-Ball are obviously solely the opinions of the author of Billy-Ball and do not reflect those of source material no matter how off the wall they may be.